Nonlinear Analysis of Beams Using Least-Squares Finite Element Models Based on the Euler-Bernoulli and Timoshenko Beam Theories
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The conventional finite element models (FEM) of problems in structural mechanics are based on the principles of virtual work and the total potential energy. In these models, the secondary variables, such as the bending moment and shear force, are post-computed and do not yield good accuracy. In addition, in the case of the Timoshenko beam theory, the element with lower-order equal interpolation of the variables suffers from shear locking. In both Euler-Bernoulli and Timoshenko beam theories, the elements based on weak form Galerkin formulation also suffer from membrane locking when applied to geometrically nonlinear problems. In order to alleviate these types of locking, often reduced integration techniques are employed. However, this technique has other disadvantages, such as hour-glass modes or spurious rigid body modes. Hence, it is desirable to develop alternative finite element models that overcome the locking problems. Least-squares finite element models are considered to be better alternatives to the weak form Galerkin finite element models and, therefore, are in this study for investigation. The basic idea behind the least-squares finite element model is to compute the residuals due to the approximation of the variables of each equation being modeled, construct integral statement of the sum of the squares of the residuals (called least-squares functional), and minimize the integral with respect to the unknown parameters (i.e., nodal values) of the approximations. The least-squares formulation helps to retain the generalized displacements and forces (or stress resultants) as independent variables, and also allows the use of equal order interpolation functions for all variables. In this thesis comparison is made between the solution accuracy of finite element models of the Euler-Bernoulli and Timoshenko beam theories based on two different least-square models with the conventional weak form Galerkin finite element models. The developed models were applied to beam problems with different boundary conditions. The solutions obtained by the least-squares finite element models found to be very accurate for generalized displacements and forces when compared with the exact solutions, and they are more accurate in predicting the forces when compared to the conventional finite element models.
Raut, Ameeta A. (2009). Nonlinear Analysis of Beams Using Least-Squares Finite Element Models Based on the Euler-Bernoulli and Timoshenko Beam Theories. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from